Fats here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.


I’m starting this week with a buzz. Check out these titles I borrowed from our library. All stories feature boys and their love for the trumpet.

4.5 stars

Ben’s Trumpet

Story and pictures by Rachel Isadora
Published by Greenwillow Books (1991)
ISBN-13: 978-0688109882
Copy provided by Hudson Library & Historical Society.

From the dust jacket: The story of Ben is fiction but it could be the story of more than one jazz musician who grew up in the twenties. Using the art-deco style of the period, Rachel Isadora not only captures the poignancy and yearning of a youthful talent, but in page after page of striking art seems to convey the very sound of music. A virtuoso performance for picture book readers of all ages to enjoy.

When I reserved a copy of this book, it took forever to get to my library. The long wait, however, was worth it. This book was originally published in 1979 and was reprinted in 1991. “That’s got one of those old book smells. Reminds me of the Bookmobile,” Daniel told me. He was sitting next to me while writing this post. (Yeah, it’s pretty ancient.)

Rachel Isadora’s black and white illustrations were stunning. The story of the boy who thought the trumpeter was the cat’s meow in the Zig Zag Jazz Club was absolutely endearing. If you haven’t read this book, then perhaps you should check if your library system has a copy!

3.5 stars

Music Over Manhattan

Story by Mark Karlins
Illustrations by Jack E. Davis
Published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers (1998)
ISBN-13: 978-0385322256
Copy provided by Elyria Public Library.

From the dust jacket: What do you get when you cross a famous musician named Louie with an underappreciated boy named Bernie, mix in a trumpet and a sparkling rendition of the most beautiful song in the world, and plop it all down in the middle of a dance-crazed wedding party? If you’re really lucky, as Bernie was one memorable summer day, you get magic!

Bernie and his parents were hosting a party at their house. Of course, his perfect cousin Herbert would be there. Bernie’s parents adored Herbert and wished their own son would be more like their nephew. Bernie has had it with Herbert’s straight As and perfect juggling of rolls.

While everyone else danced and partied, Uncle Louie invited Bernie on the roof. Uncle Louie was a world-famous musician. Uncle Louie decided to play “Moonlight Over Manhattan” with his trumpet. Uncle Louie gave Bernie his own trumpet and gave him lessons. Next thing you know, Bernie was playing at a wedding in a country!

This book is great for kids who love music. It offers a nice reminder that everyone’s good at something and that practice and hard work always pay off.

4 stars


Story by Jonah Winter
Illustrations by Sean Qualls
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books (2006)
ISBN-13: 978-0439507370
Copy provided by Wayne County Public Library.

From the dust jacket: Dizzy Gillespie was a real cool cat who must have been born with a horn in his hands. The trumpet was his ticket on a train to better days, and he left his hard life in a small town for New York, and the hottest band around. But did Dizzy stand straight and play right? NO! He hit high notes, low notes, never-been-heard notes, acted silly, played around, puffed his cheeks out like a clown… and created a whole new kind of music: BEBOP. This is a story about a boy who breaks all the rules and ends up head of the class, top of the heap, the — ska-diddley dee bop! — Prince of Jazz.

Dizzy is a picture book biography of trumpet virtuoso and improviser, Dizzy Gillespie. It tells the fascinating story of a man who could not be bound by rules, who marched to the beat of his own drum. The story was told in verses and the flow of words reminds me of spoken word poetry. It’s a must-have for readers who enjoy stories based on true events.

Books I Finished Reading Last Week… (Sort of)

I did not care for Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World at all. It was one of the books I DNF this year. (Did not finish.) It wasn’t my kind of book. Sadie, though, was amazing! It’s a YA thriller written in a podcast transcript that alternated with Sadie’s point of view. Heartbreaking but also refreshing. Courtney Summers did a great job on that one. Lauren Oliver’s Broken Things was good. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did. It’s a YA thriller with twists and turns, story within a story, and uses flashbacks.

Currently Reading…

8 comments on “[Monday Reading] A Trumpet-ful of Fun!

  1. I’m happy to have three new picture book “music” books to add to my list for the course I’m teaching. Thank you for sharing these! I’m looking forward to reading Sadie in the coming years. Thank you for all the shares, Fats!


  2. My library does have “Ben’s Trumpet”, Fats, & will look for the others, too! They all sound great!


  3. My library system also has a few copies of Ben’s Trumpet so I will most certainly find and read it. It also has many titles by Jonah Winter, including How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz. I am trying to refrain from putting to many books on hold these days but I’m sure I can squeeze in a few picture books right?


  4. Wow, I’m so used to Rachel Isadora’s newer books, which are so bright and colourful, that I never would have picked Ben’s Trumpet as being by her!


  5. I haven’t read any Elizabeth Berg’s books in quite a while. I’ll have to check out Night of Miracles.


  6. I am super intrigued by Sadie – was vacillating as to whether I should get it for Myka for Christmas. I should have.


  7. I read a Paul Tremblay book earlier this year and was underwhelmed. I don’t think I’ll try another one. Have a great week!


  8. Sarah Sammis

    Dizzy I’ve read but the other two are new to me. My weekly update


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: